21 Jan 2017

MRI Scans Are Twice As Effective At Spotting Prostate Cancer As Biopsies

By Mike Buchanan, J4MB: More men die of prostate cancer in the UK, than women die of breast cancer. There are no national screening programmes for male-specific cancers, while there are two for female-specific cancers (breast and cervical cancer).
Some potentially excellent news in today’s Times. The use of MRI scans would not only reduce the number of unnecessary operations being carried out – incontinence and impotence are common consequences – it would greatly increase the success level of diagnosing aggressive cancers. The article quotes Hashim Ahmed of University College London, who led the first trial of MRI diagnosis:

He said that the vast majority of British hospitals were not yet using MRI to diagnose prostate cancer, as they did not have enough scanners or radiologists to interpret the results. “I hope that over the next one to two years they will create that capacity,” he said.
We hope so too, but given how little the NHS spends on male-specific health issues, and the lack of money available because a key objective of the NHS for 40+ years has been to provide highly paid work for female doctors who want to work part-time, it’s difficult to be optimistic.


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